The synthesis, characterisation and application of novel high-density poly(vinylsulfonic acid)-grafted solid acid catalysts are described. A graft, radical polymerization procedure was employed, allowing the immobilisation of the acid form of vinylsulfonic acid monomer onto various carrier materials, such as polystyrene, silica or polysaccharide-based gels. The highest acid-exchange capacity (as determined by acid-base titration methods) achieved with these new materials was 5.2 mmol H+ g-1. The properties of these PVS-grafted materials as solid state acid catalysts have been examined from several perspectives, including their fundamental properties as materials with extremely high acid dissociation characteristics, their structural features as revealed from IR and solid-state NMR measurements, their thermal stability properties, and their surface morphologies, humidity dependencies and functionality. Compared to many other types of acid catalysts, these high-density poly(vinylsulfonic acid)-grafted materials demonstrated superior catalytic performance in esterification, Friedel-Crafts acylation, and condensation reactions. Moreover, these novel materials show high stability, significant anticorrosion capability and can be easily recycled.
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